Sunday, May 29, 2011

The top 5 fairytales I'm looking forward to reading

Note: This post was originally featured on Michelle's blog as part of her fairytale week feature.

For as long as I can remember, fairytales have always played a huge part in my life. Whether it was through TV, or through books, these (often) romantic tales of yonder, have perhaps caused me to view the world around me with rose-tinted goggles.  Not that I mind really. Nor am I making excuses for it.

In fact, naive as it may be, these fairy tales still have me believing in:

- the power of strong, forthright and virtuous heroes and heroines,
-  happily-ever-afters that keep me dreaming and believing in the potential of finding my own personal fairytale ending;
- and the wonderful storytelling that has always and will always keep me believing in a world where magic, mayhem and anything wonderful is often prone to occur.

In the spirit of Michelle's fabulous fairytale week (thank you so much for having me feature on your blog Michelle), here are 5 fairytale reads (not necessarily new reads) that I can't wait to read.  

Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier
I first discovered this author when a colleague of mine lent me a copy of Daughter of the Forest (a retelling of The Six Swans).

I fell in love with Marillier's writing almost immediately. Her heroines are absolutely incredible and she writes with a beautiful infusion of magic, myth and her own unique spin on folklore.

Because of this Daughter of the Forest is without a doubt, one of my favourite fairytale retellings.

One of her most recent books is Heart's Blood, which is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Considering that Beauty and the Beast is my favourite fairytale, I have no doubt that Marillier's take on it will be an absolute sensory feast for the eyes and the imagination. 

The book focuses around a young man named Anluan who has been crippled since childhood as part of a curse that has been running in his family and his home for years.

Shrouded in doom and gloom,  Caitrin, a young scribe is sent to sort through old family documents at his home. Through this, she unexpectedly brings about changes that brings hope to a household despairing and living in dark shadows.

But, in order for Anluan's true freedom, young Caitrin must unlock the mystery behind the web of sorcery woven in the past before Anluan loses his life - and they lose their love.

I can't wait to immerse myself in Juliet's magical worlds and can highly recommend her novels to anyone who genuinely loves a good fantasy romance with strong, resilient heroines who know who to survive against all odds and the incredibly well-rounded men who complete them.
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
A companion novel to Sisters Red (a novel which I enjoyed even though I did have a bit of a problem with Scarlett's character), Sweetly is a modern adaptation of Hansel and Gretel.

I love Jackson Pearce's writing and would really love to see just how she puts her unique spin on this timeless classic.

The book tells the story of Gretchen and her brother Ansel who, along with Gretchen's twin went looking for a witch in the forest and found a little more than they bargained for. 

Whatever it is they found, they lost along with their twin sister, who was never to be seen again.

Years after the incident, brother and sister find themselves moving into an almost ghost town into the heart and the home of a beautiful chocolatier who welcomes them with open arms.

When signs that the witch is still lurking around become more and more prevalent, with the help of Samuel Reynolds (wonder if he's related to a certain Reynolds in Sisters Red), Gretchen decides that it's time to fight back.

I can't wait for this one. Adventure, sinister activities and a little romance thrown into the mix? Oh, Yes please.

Plus, how creeptastically beautiful is the cover of Sweetly? I get the feeling this one's going to take us on one spookily atmospheric ride.  And I've always been a fan of novels with a slightly sinister edge to it.

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter
I've had this book on my list of to-reads for years.

It's a darker, gothic, violent, sensual and feminist take on classic fairytales which features retellings of classic tales like Bluebeard, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood and Puss in Boots (amongst other fairytales).

I'm not normally a fan of books that could in some ways be considered erotic fiction, but I do love dark, sensual and atmospheric tales and this one has been described as having all those elements and more.

The Bloody Chamber contains a collection of short stories that each explore women in different and often subversive roles (which many have claimed) - something which adds a whole new slant on the innocent fairytales that I've come to know and love.

I wish I could go into more detail about how the fairytale storylines each differ, but that would spoil the book for both you and me. One thing I have been warned about that it makes for grizzly reading in some parts, but the beautiful and alluring word imagery is what has made this novel a winner for many people who have read this book.

Perhaps I'm giving away the fact that dark, twisty tales appeal to my inner being, but I really can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this book.

Midnight Pearls: A Retelling of "The Little Mermaid" by Debbie ViguiƩ, Mahlon F. Craft
And now, for something a little lighter. Next to Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid would probably be my second favourite fairytale of all time.

This YA retelling of The Little Mermaid caught my attention with its beautiful title (I'm a sucker for book with beautiful titles).

This book was released way back in 2006 and tells the story of a lone fisherman and his wife who raise a girl named Pearl, rescued from the sea.

Pearl is an unusual girl with silver hair, and wide, dark blue eyes - and as a young woman is shunned by most villagers.

The one person she does find a companion in is Prince James - but that friendship and budding romance is about to be tested when trouble emerges, an evil enchantment is unleashed and hints about Pearl's past threaten to come to the forefront.

Not a huge fan of the book's actual cover, but I must admit that I'm smitten by the sound of this book. I haven't actually read too many retellings of The Littler Mermaid and this one seems as good as any place to get back into the swing of LM retellings.
 
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
I was hugely disappointed with Sarah Beth Durst's retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, novel Ice.

I remember loving the fantastic world of glistening ice, her lyrical writing, but thought her story was structured in a way that was too fast-paced and not realistically portrayed enough for me (You can read my review here). 

Of course, I do love the story of East of the Sun and West of the Moon, so I really am looking forward to reading Jessica Day George's offering.

I haven't read too many reviews of this one, so am not quite sure what to expect, but I am optimistic and am hoping for the same kind of world building in Durst's Ice, but just with better storytelling execution.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow is about a girl known to her family as Lass, who is gifted with the ability to understand animals. When a polar bear seeks her out and promises wealth to her family if she'll accompany him to his castle in return, she doesn't hesitate.

Of course, the bear  and his castle of ice is not all that it seems and soon, Lass discovers that the bear is really a prince who's been enchanted by a  troll queen and who might be forced to marry a troll princess unless she can come up with a way to free him.

Snow and Icy-landscape settings have always been some of my favourite kind of books to read so I'm really hoping that this one will not be as disappointing as I found Ice to be.

There are just so many beautiful fairytales (original and modern adaptations) that are out there, that it's really difficult to narrow them down to just these five. One thing I can say though is that as long as these stories are told, I'll always keep reading.

And mostly, I'll always keep believing. Such is the power of those enchanting tales.

So, what fairytale adaptations have you enjoyed recently? And which ones are you looking forward to reading? Would love to hear some of your recommendations below.

5 comments:

Aisle B said...

I remember the original The Little Mermaid tale for its poignant and sad tale of love. I felt angered that the Prince did not awaken the memory of her saving him nor acknowledged all she had lost to be with him. I think of all the fairy tales to come, I'll be interested most in Midnight Pearls. I'd be interested in seeing how this one pans out.

PS Very happy to hear you received your Divergent to read. We'll have to compare our thoughts. I lent it out to a friend of mine since I have many other to read before then.

ComaCalm said...

I'm dying to read Sweetly, I loved Sisters Red! I also love the covers of these, they're quite clever. =^.^=

ComaCalm's Corner

Jenny said...

I can't wait for Sweetly either! I love fairy tales, and I really enjoyed Sisters Red so I'm excited to see what she does with Sweetly:)

Jan von Harz said...

Great post. I am now very anxious to read Heart's Blood and Sweetly. I am a total sucker for all things fairy tail and love retellings. I have already read George's version of East of the Sun and West of the Moon and loved it. Thanks for turning me onto a couple new retellings.

Straylights said...

OOH The Bloody Chamber sounds really interesting! I love darker reads, I'm going to have to check this one out :)